Columbus III and Xtera Communications sign contract to upgrade subsea cable network

OCTOBER 29, 2009 -- The Columbus III consortium awarded Xtera Communications a contract to upgrade the transatlantic segment of the Columbus III submarine cable system between Hollywood, FL and Lisbon, Portugal.

OCTOBER 29, 2009 -- The Columbus III consortium awarded Xtera Communications a contract to upgrade the transatlantic segment of the Columbus III submarine cable system between Hollywood, FL and Lisbon, Portugal. The work and acceptance testing was completed on Sept. 30, 2009, and the system is now ready to be placed in service, with Xtera's 20-Gbps differential phase-shift key (DPSK) submarine line terminal equipment (SLTE), offering increase capacity as well as headroom for future growth. The consortium parties participating in the upgrade are AT&T, PT Comunicaes, TATA Communications, Telkom SA Limited, and Verizon Business.

The consortium says the upgrade will increase the capacity between the United States and Portugal to 160 Gbps initially, thus improving service to other countries such as Africa. The system can accommodate up to 320 Gbps with potential to grow further.

"The Columbus III system spans 7,500 km -- more than any other transatlantic link -- and it is a major accomplishment to provide an N x 20 Gbps solution on line plant originally designed for only 8 x 2.5 Gbps," says Jon Hopper, chief executive officer of Xtera. "We are very pleased to be selected by the Columbus III consortium for this strategic upgrade."

The Columbus III network was originally placed in service in December 1999 and connects Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the United States. In addition to the diversity of landing it was designed to offer reduced latency from the southern United States and the Americas to points in southern Europe and beyond. The introduction of 10-Gbps technology enables a direct, high-capacity, diverse route from the southern United States to southern Europe and allows the Columbus III owners to offer alternative landings to the Northeast corridor in the United States and the U.K. and France landings in Europe.

Xtera's submarine upgrade, the NXT system, is optimized for operation on existing submarine cables. It offers advanced monitoring capabilities, including monitoring existing submerged repeaters, supports detection of faults in the existing plant, low power consumption, high-reliability sealed clam-shell circuit packs, and NEBS Zone 4 earthquake compliance. The NXT system uses 20-Gbps DPSK to increase capacity in existing fiber, while being completely compatible with the existing repeaters and other equipment.


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